Zambrano is 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA his last six starts. He won his most recent outing at San Francisco last Thursday, yielding three runs and six hits over seven innings in a 5-3 victory.
The 24-year-old right-hander has excelled against the Reds during his five-year career. Zambrano is 5-3 with a 2.14 ERA against Cincinnati in 14 career appearances, including 10 starts.
Zambrano has also enjoyed pitching at home this season, going 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 outings. He is 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA over his last eight starts at Wrigley Field.
Chicago hopes to get All-Star third baseman Aramis Ramirez back in the lineup some time this week. Ramirez, second on the team with 92 RBIs, has been out since Aug. 24 with a strained left quadriceps.
“He’s going to try to push it a little bit this week to find out exactly where he is,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully, he’ll be on the field doing some fielding and throwing. He’s doing some light running. The running part is the difficult part. He’s working around the clock.”
The Cubs learned Monday that rookie shortstop Ronny Cedeno will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his left hand. Cedeno was hit by a pitch on the hand in Saturday’s win at San Francisco.
“It’s very sad for me,” Cedeno said. “I’m trying to help the team. I’m doing my best. It’s something that happens in the game.”
Cincinnati won at Wrigley Field for the eighth time in 10 games with a 5-2 victory in Monday’s series opener. Wily Mo Pena homered twice and Javier Valentin also connected as the Reds denied 317-game winner Greg Maddux his 13th victory of the season.
Maddux, who fell to 12-12, has won at least 15 games in 17 straight seasons and is running out of time to keep that streak alive.
Cincinnati’s David Weathers recorded the final two outs on Monday for his 13th save of the season. Reds’ relievers have converted 11 of their last 12 save chances.